City of Theme Parks & Movie Stars

Trip Start Oct 03, 2010
Trip End Dec 11, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sunset Boulevard

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, October 3, 2010

I just have to start by saying that whilst in the process of clearing immigration at Tullamarine Airport, all of a sudden we see several men in black suits fussing around the area, clearing queues and talking into microphones up their sleeves.

Immediately I thought they must be clearing the area for some VIP to come through, or there might have been some sort of security issue, but I wasn't really sure.

I had completed my security check and was ready to exit the immigration area, however Ray had been asked at the time to take his belt and shoes off as they kept beeping whilst going through the security screener, so he was still in the general vicinity putting his belt and shoes back on, when all of a sudden, right there next to him appeared Lionel Richie.  (He had been in Melbourne to sing at the AFL Grand Final). He looked at Ray and said to him "How you doing today?"  Ray of course struck up a conversation with him whilst his security people around him start going into a bit of a frenzy.  It appears Ray and Lionel were holding the whole process up and there were a few "unhappy little Vegemites" around.  I would have taken a photo at the time, but I'm sure that would have had me arrested. (No photo taking in the security area allowed).

Anyway - conversation with Lionel over, shoes and belt back on, guys in black suits happy, we in economy class and Lionel in first class, and off we go - all heading for Los Angeles.

15 hours later, Ray and I emerged into the Customs and Immigration area of Los Angeles airport ready to be scrutinized, finger printed and have photos of our pupils taken, feeling like we were being herded like sheep, and very worn out by this stage, when here comes Lionel again, looking as fresh as a daisy having come from his comfy first class seat, (these all turn into beds by the way in A380's) by-passing security altogether, and walking directly to his awaiting big black limo, leaving everyone else in his dust. 

Mental Note:
Save pennies - purchase First Class seat next time - Wishful thinking....

Process over, we get into a humble little cab and off to our hotel on Sunset Boulevard for a well earned sleep.

We had three days in Los Angeles, so we did our best to pack in as much as we possibly could - we went to Universal Studios (acted like little kids and had fun), the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, and stood in the shoes of John Wayne, Fred Astair and so many other classic stars - that was fun!  Ladies, on behalf of of us all, I looked for George Clooney's foot/hand prints but couldn't find them - there were so many people around I gave up in the end.  I did find Marilyn Munroe at the wax museum though - so true to life - it was quite freakish.

Ray also wanted to go back to a little bar that he frequented when he was in Los Angeles back in the 80's, called Barnies Beanery.  It was a bar that the band the "Doors" used to hang out at.  He had actually met Ray Manzarek, a member of the Doors back then, at this bar.  Ray had told me this story so many times over the years, he wanted to show me the location.  So off we went to this quaint little place, the table-tops and walls of which were adorned with cut-outs of newspaper and magazine articles of celebrities, rock stars and movie stars.  It was quite a cute little bar and Ray couldn't stop looking around - couldn't wipe the smile off his face. I think he had been transported back in time a little.  The only difference between then and now was that they had filled the place with wall to wall television screens (literally) just recently as most of these placed do these days, and that had taken some of the shine away from Ray's memory - they had turned it into a sports bar, but it still had that charm to it that he remembered.

We also managed to get to Rodeo Drive, however, no shopping was done.  I will have to go back there on my own some day with plastic cards in hand.  Although Ray didn't say anything, I could Just hear him saying "do you really need that", and I would not have had a comeback to that !

Also took a quick look at Venice Beach, however it was a little rainy that day and all the muscle men (except for the one in the picture below) were not out doing their usual muscle building thing.

As any traveler will know, you tend to strike up conversations with different people wherever you go.  Lots of people were fascinated with our Australian accent.  As soon as they picked up that we were Aussies, Ray would burst out with "Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wombats, Ayers Rock, Bondi Beach", and everyone would look at him a bit strange of course...he gets a kick out of that for some reason.  It reminded him of his trip back in the early 80's with his friend John Locko when they used to recite that often everywhere they went when recognised as Aussies.

He did this to one guy, and he turned around and said (in his Southern Yankie drawl) - "oh - I don't know anything about that, but I do know that a dingo took a baby - is that true".  He was curious to know whether it was possible for a dingo to take a baby.  He was referring to Azaria Chamberlain of course, and that is all he knew about Australia. That left quite an impression on both Ray and I... that so many Americans still know so little, to nothing, about Australia.  A lot of them still think it's part of Europe (ie. Austria).  We need to get out there and educate them !  Maybe Oprah's trip downunder might help.

After packing so much in, in the little time we had in Los Angeles, it was time to leave for Annapolis for the boatshow.  We asked at the hotel for a car big enough to transport all our luggage, and they ended up sending us a limo...Lionel eat your heart out !  We thought it was quite funny, and lapped up the luxury of it all without too much effort.  Off to the airport to fight our way through security and check-in again...always dread this part of the exercise !
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